Chapter 334: Breaking New Ground Again!
Chinese department, in the lecture theater.
When Zhang Ye arrived, the venue was still chaotic. Many reporters were outside, trying to squeeze to get in, but were prohibited by security. A few Peking University students from other departments also wanted to attend the class, but there were some teachers blocking the entrance, persuading them with earnest words, asking them to leave. However, these students did not leave.
“Return to your classes!”
“Teacher, I don’t have a class today!”
“Can’t we listen outside, through the windows?”
“There are still seats in the classroom. Teacher Kong, just let me inside!”
“Everyone, hurry up and leave. There’s no room for negotiation today. President Wu has already announced it!”
In the end, there were still a large bunch of students who refused to leave. They leaned on the windows, or stood by the doors. The teachers also did not leave, but they stopped trying to persuade them. As for the reporters, not a single one of them left. They moved to spots outside the windows, ignoring the security guards and began filming.
When Zhang Ye walked into his class, all his enrolled students were already present. He did not feel that there was any differences in a public lecture or a class like that. Since the video lecture would be posted online later on, whoever wanted to watch it could watch it. A class held in a small classroom, on the other hand, was much quieter. There were no people with nefarious motives to cause trouble. He had more freedom to say what he wanted. “Everyone, quiet down. I’ll start taking attendance. Li Chengan.”
A boy raised his hand. “Here.”
Zhang Ye said, “Yao Mi.”
“Here!” Yao Mi giggled.
“Li Li…” Zhang Ye checked on the attendance.
“Here.” Li Li raised his hand high up.
There was a 100% attendance rate.
Zhang Ye was pleased as he smiled. His students had given him face. “Alright, with everyone here, we can begin today’s class.”
Be it the students seated in the classroom, or those students leaning against the windows, they immediately pricked up their ears. The reporters were also invigorated as they prepared to hear Zhang Ye’s introduction. In the last two lessons, whatever needed to be said had been said. Teacher Zhang Ye also did not plan on repeating the evidence that supported his point, hence, in that case, there was nothing left to talk about. How was he going to continue lecturing? This was what everyone was curious about!
Chang Kaige also came.
There was also department dean, Zhen Shuquan. They were both sitting in the last row of the classroom.
Today, quite a number of teachers from the Peking University Chinese department came. Su Na and Professor Zeng were some of the examples. They were all very concerned about Zhang Ye’s third class. The outcome for the entire country’s department rankings were about to be posted in the coming days. They had not kept their hopes up originally, but Zhang Ye’s public lectures had given them hope once again. Hence, all the department leaders placed great importance on Zhang Ye’s class.
The reporters were in a similar position. With many people discussing the truth behind ‘Dream of the Red Chamber’ and Zhang Ye’s shocking point of view, they naturally wanted to be first to hear the news.
Zhang Ye leaned on the podium and smiled and said, “Everyone should have gone back and pondered over the things I mentioned in my previous two classes. Do you agree with it?”
Yao Mi was the first to answer. “Yes! Definitely!”
Senior Song also nodded her head. “There was indeed multiple problems in the chapters after the eightieth.”
Senior Zhou also agreed. “What you said made a lot of sense. It’s impossible to doubt it.”
Zhang Ye said, “It seems that a majority of my students express agreement. Then people might begin to doubt. Since the chapters after the eightieth of ‘Dream of the Red Chamber’ were not written by Mr Cao Xueqin, and the missing manuscripts cannot be found at this moment in time, then are we to just sit here and twiddle our fingers? Are we not going to do anything?” He paused and smiled and said, “That won’t be the case. There are still many things we can do. In today’s class, I will talk about a new topic in the study of ‘Dream of the Red Chamber’ that I named myself.” As he said that, he picked up a piece of chalk and wrote three words on the blackboard.
The students turned stunned!
Chang Kaige and Professor Zeng looked at each other with questioning looks. What’s that?
The reporters outside were excited. As expected, this Zhang Ye had new tricks up his sleeve every day. We knew he wouldn’t wish to stay mundane. He was about to reveal something new again!
Senior Song raised her hand. “Teacher, what topic and field of study is this?”
“Vestige Forensics?” Senior Zhou stared and said, “Why have I never heard of this before?”
Zhang Ye lowered his hand to gesture for them to sit down. He said, “It seems everyone is unfamiliar with this topic. Actually, just a simple explanation and you will all understand. The Vestige Forensics of ‘Dream of the Red Chamber’ is established based on the foundations that the chapters after the eightieth were lost. In the academic field I have researched, forensics does not mean haphazard guesses. It is not fictitious guesses, but using the first 80 chapters on the whole, and the guidance of ancient manuscripts, as well as relevant historical information and records, to infer the original words and intentions of Cao Xueqin. This field of research and topic can help us find the original intended plot and developments of Cao Xueqin’s ‘Dream of the Red Chamber’! It will allow us to know how Cao Xueqin’s 108 chapters of ‘Dream of the Red Chamber’ should have been written!”
Senior Zhou said with a gasp, “Is, is that possible?”
Li Ying also stared in a daze. “Yeah, is that possible?”
Su Na and Professor Zeng gasped. Zhang Ye could restore ‘Dream of the Red Chamber’?
In this world, no one believed ‘Dream of the Red Chamber’ was continued by someone else, so of course, there was no research such as Vestige Forensics. However, in Zhang Ye’s world, Vestige Forensics of ‘Dream of the Red Chamber’ was already very mature in development. Many Redologists were immersed in it, spending their entire lives in this field of research.
Zhang Ye smiled and said, “Many of you do not seem to believe me, but I can tell you that it is possible. In the following classes, I will be talking about this. Of course, it’s the same. This is my own personal analysis and research. If you feel there’s something problematic or disagreeable about it, we can discuss it during or after class.”
Everyone’s appetite was whet!
After Zhang Ye’s lecture, many people already believed that ‘Dream of the Red Chamber’ was continued. Didn’t you see those experts from the literary world completely at a loss for words? Hence, everyone was naturally wondering what the true plot in the chapters after the eightieth was. Zhang Ye had boasted saying that he could use Vestige Forensics to infer the true ending. Everyone did not believe him, but they were very curious and looked forward to it!
“Teacher Zhang, hurry up and talk about it!”
“That’s right, don’t keep us on our toes!”
“If ‘Dream of the Red Chamber’ can really be restored, that would truly be fascinating!”
The students began to echo.
However, Zhang Ye smiled and said, “Hur Hur, everyone finds it fascinating? Actually it’s nothing fascinating. Many of the plot’s development and the fates of the characters had been set in stone during the first 80 chapters. According to my forensics, Cao Xueqin’s chapter 81 begins from chapter 73. It is the chapter that ends the 9th unit of the entire book. From chapter 82, a new plot unit will begin. I mentioned this before. Then, from chapter 73 onwards, it begins to wildly beat the gongs and drums about the internal conflicts going on in the Jia residence, the external conflicts, and when interlaced together, exploded. This is an edifice that is already shaking. It was about to collapse at any time. As Simple picked up a highly embarrassing object, she caused Prospect Garden to be raided. Raiding Prospect Garden was a matter pertaining only to Rong-guo mansion, but in the end, Lady Xing and a Wang Shang-bao’s wife went in, causing chaos to ensue. It was completely without any proprietary. When the raid reached Tan-chun, how did Tan-chun act…?”
“The most tragic was Skybright, who died. Skybright was the most important of the 12 Beauties of Jinling Register. In the first 80 chapters, Qin Keqing, who was in the “Register”, died in chapter 13. When the story developed to this plot unit, there were people beginning to die. Hence, the tragic fate of the family unfolded, as the family slowly declined.”
“Then in chapters 78 to 80. The females in the family were on the brink of death. Yin-chun made a mistake by getting betrothed to Zhong-shan wolf, and wolves eat people. When Xue Pan married Xia Jin-gui, Caltrop was also nearing the end of her life. According to Cao Xueqin’s plan in writing this entire tragedy, once that happened, people from the Main Register had to die too. Qin Keqing died near the beginning, and now, it was time for Jia Yingchun to die. People from the Supplementary Register also needed to die. Hence, in Cao Xueqin’s chapter 81, it should follow the trajectory of chapter 73, ending in a tragedy. The deaths of people in the Supplementary Register should have carried on. Those from the main Register would also die. Those who were supposed to die should have been Jia Yinchun and Caltrop. Hence, according to Cao Xueqin’s textual structure, I believe the 81st chapter of ‘Dream of the Red Chamber’ should have a chapter title like this, ‘Zhong-shan Wolf swallows a beauty, A Termagant ends a soul’.”
Everyone believed that even if Zhang Ye was going to talk about it, he would not talk about it in deep detail, and just vaguely talk about it by brushing against the surface. No one expected that Zhang Ye’s so-called self-created Vestige Forensics had been studied to such great detail. The things he inferred were all very strict and precise. He even guessed from forensics the 81st chapter’s title. Just this alone stunned Chang Kaige and Professor Zeng!
Zhang Ye lectured bit by bit.
The crowd listened in shock. At times, they were gasping in shock, and sometimes engaging in deep thought throughout the lecture!
One class quickly finished. This time there was no extension. Zhang Ye followed his own pace and after finishing, he began keeping his documents. “Alright, that will be all for today. If there’s anything you do not understand, you can ask me after class. Class dismissed.”
After attending this class, the Chinese department’s leaders and a few professors no longer had any doubts. Though Zhang Ye did not talk about the problems about the author of ‘Dream of the Red Chamber’, it did not mean he had nothing else to talk about. Now, it was even better. He had put forth a new topical study in Redology and it was extremely interesting! In addition to this, everything adhered to the logical trajectory! Maybe Zhang Ye was not right, but you had to admit that this was breaking new ground in Redology research!
Following Zhang Ye’s previous point of view, he had once again stepped to the forefront of Redology research. He was shattering everyone’s entrenched understanding bit by bit!
Translators’ Notes: Just click it! About 60,000 views more for another chapter!